The week starts with meatballs for breakfast every Monday morning at Beltone New England, a hearing aid company headquartered at 931 Jefferson Blvd., Suite 2001, Warwick.
The fun tradition has been going on for more than six years.
Michael Andreozzi, CEO of the company, grew up in a large Italian American family in Cranston and loves to cook. Every Monday morning, he brings meatballs and all kinds of other food into the office for his staff to enjoy.
“This crazy weekly ‘Meatball Monday’ practice not only inspires my team, it has also created amazing corporate culture within the company,” Andreozzi said.
For Andreozzi’s family, Sundays were the day for a big meal with his large family of six brothers and sisters.
“Three to four hours were spent in the kitchen with so much food, but meatballs were the main staple made every Sunday morning,” he said.
His father, Rocco, 86, still enjoys the tradition.
“I could smell the ‘Sunday sauce’ cooking while in bed getting ready for the day,” he said.
Michael Andreozzi grew up on West Blue Ridge Road in Cranston in the Glen Woods section of the city and went to Glen Hills Elementary School. He also attended Cranston Johnston Catholic Regional, Western Hills and Cranston High School West, from which he graduated in 1983. He graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 1988 with majors in communicative disorders and speech communications.
As he got older and started his own family, Andreozzi would continue the same tradition his father did every Sunday – cooking meatballs, sausage, short ribs, chicken cutlets, eggplant, pizza and calzones.
His wife, Amy, who is from Barrington, and daughter, Brooke, who now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, also love to cook. They would wonder each week, however, just what Andreozzi planned to do with all of the food he prepared.
Some would go to neighbors, and then Andreozzi started bringing leftovers into work. That led to the start of “Meatball Monday” several years ago.
“One of my management team members said, ‘If you asked me years ago, I would have told you eating a meatball and having coffee for breakfast is weird. Now it’s the norm around our office and I couldn’t imagine it any other way,’” Andreozzi said.
Andreozzi took over Beltone New England when he purchased the company from his father in 2001. He has stayed local and focused on hiring local residents, even as the company’s reach has grown into dozens of locations in several other states.
Andreozzi credits the company’s success to its focus on maintaining a small, family-business approach and atmosphere. The headquarters in Warwick employs 35 team members.
“What’s amazing is how treating your employees and team members like family members, and really meaning it, has such a huge effect on your business and the teams’ corporate culture,” Andreozzi said. “When you care enough to go out of your way to make food for someone, they know you care about them … food is a relationship builder, not just for families and friends, but in business. It shows that this isn’t just work, its personal.”
There is a theme for each week’s Meatball Monday, which Andreozzi shares with the team as well as on social media with his Facebook, Instagram and Twitter followers. Likewise, many of Andreozzi’s friends, family members and business associates share photos with him of meatballs they’ve eaten during their travels.
On his last trip to the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Andreozzi’s co-workers thought he should start reviewing the meatballs he eats while traveling and rate then on social media through video reviews. He was reluctant at first, but decided the videos would be fun to make.
“Now, the meatball video reviews have taken off like wildfire,” he said. “It’s crazy how popular they’ve become. People love them. One video recently was viewed over 1,200 times in a short period.”
In the end, Andreozzi said he enjoys what “Meatball Monday” has become – and how much fun it has brought into the lives of those around him.
“It’s hysterical what this has turned into,” he said.